G . N. Ramachandran Biography
G. N. Ramachandran was born on the 8th of October 1922, in Ernakulam, near Cochin in Kerala. The eldest son of G.R Narayana Iyer and Laxmi Ammal, G. N. Ramachandran was a mathematics wizard since his childhood. His father being the professor of Mathematics and the principal of Maharajah’s College, Ramachandran got his initial training at his home.
It is said that throughout his school days, G. N. Ramachandran got a perfect hundred in his mathematics exams. After his intermediate examination in which he acquired the first position in the entire state of Madras, G. N. Ramachandran took admission in the St. Joseph College in Trichy with an honors degree in Physics. After completing his college, Ramachandran joined the Indian Institute of Science in the Physics department to complete his M.Sc and doctoral thesis under the eminent scientist Sir C.V. Raman. He then spent his two years in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge from where he got his Ph.D degree for his study in ‘X-ray diffuse scattering and its application in the field of the determination of elastic constants’. He returned to the Indian institute of Science, but this time not as a student, but as a professor. As he continued working with Crystal physics, he joined Madras University, as the Head of the department in Physics.
From his prior field, G. N. Ramachandran shifted to an intensive research in the field of structure of biological macromolecules. He brought out a theory Ramachandran Plot, which was first published in the journal called ‘Journal of Molecular Biology’ in the year 1963. This became an important breakthrough in the field of Protein conformation.
Ramchandran brought together the diverse fields like X-ray crystallography, peptide synthesis, NMR and other optical studies along with physio-chemical experimentations under the common field of Molecular Biophysics.
He founded the Molecular Biophysics unit in the Indian Institute of Science in the year 1970, which later came to be known as Center of Advanced Study in Biophysics and Crystallography.
The eminent awards that had been achieved by this pioneer in the field of his research are Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for his work in Physics in India, and Fellowship of the Royal Society in London. He was awarded with the Ewald Prize in 1999 by the International Union of Crystallography for his outstanding contribution to the field of Crystallography.
G. N. Ramachandran died in the year 2001 due to heart attack, at the age of 78.